How to Craft a Heartfelt Gift Acknowledgment Letter

A swift thank you is all it takes for 34% of donors to give again. And beyond boosting retention, a gratuitous follow-up can help your nonprofit share its impact, adhere to compliance standards, and show donors the appreciation they deserve.

While your nonprofit may already have a donor recognition process in place, an important first step is to send a gift acknowledgment letter. Let’s explore why these letters are important and how your organization can craft one that’s both effective and heartfelt!

Learn how you can take donor retention strategies, like a gift acknowledgment letter, a step further with matching gifts.

Gift Acknowledgement Letter FAQs

What is a gift acknowledgment letter?

A gift acknowledgment letter, also known as a donation acknowledgment letter, is a formal document sent by a nonprofit to donors to express gratitude for their contributions. This appreciation message also serves as a way for donors to claim tax exemptions and reap the financial benefit of giving to your cause.

Is a gift acknowledgment letter required?

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) lays out specific guidelines for written acknowledgments for tax-deductible donations—meaning that gift acknowledgment letters are not only a best practice but are required in certain instances. Nonprofits are required to provide a written acknowledgment for any single donation of $250 or more, whether in cash or in-kind.

The acknowledgment should include certain details such as the amount of the donation, a description of any non-cash contributions, and a statement indicating whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the donation.

Should gift acknowledgment letters be sent for matched gifts?

When donors make a contribution that’s matched by their employer, your nonprofit has two supporters to thank: the employee and the employer. Not only should you send a gift acknowledgment letter to the donor, detailing that their gift was matched, but you should also send a separate acknowledgment to their employer. This can open the door to a future partnership, or at the very least, ensure they continue matching contributions to your cause.

Donor appreciation is just one best practice to follow when working with matching gifts. For more tips, watch the following video:

Because matching gifts are such a highly engaging fundraiser, prompt follow-up is especially important to maintain the engagement.

How soon after donors give should it be sent?

While there is no hard and fast rule for the exact timeframe within which a gift acknowledgment letter should be sent, it’s generally recommended that it be sent as soon as possible. This way, donors can be confident that their gifts went through and have access to everything they need to claim a tax exemption.

What should be included in a gift acknowledgment letter?

A gift acknowledgment letter should include the following elements:

A sample gift acknowledgment letter that highlights the elements that should be included.

    • Recipient’s information: Include the donor’s name in your salutation. This personal touch can help your organization establish strong connections with donors and help them feel valued.
    • Statement of gratitude: Start with a warm and sincere expression of thanks. Make it clear that their support is valued and appreciated, and connect it back to your cause.
    • Details of the donation: Specify the amount or nature of the donation (e.g., monetary contribution, in-kind donation, matched gift), as well as any restrictions or designations the donor may have specified.
    • Tax information: If applicable, provide information about the organization’s tax-exempt status and confirm that the donation is tax-deductible. Include the organization’s Tax ID number (if in the U.S.) for the donor’s records.
    • Impact of the donation: Briefly explain how the donor’s contribution will be used and the impact it will have on the organization’s mission or programs. This helps donors understand the importance of their support.
    • Your organization’s name: Sign off with your organization’s name to indicate that this donation went toward your nonprofit’s cause. You can also sign the letter with the name of a staff member or a leader within the organization for an added personal touch.

If relevant, you may also invite the donor to further their involvement with your organization. Consider adding a sentence or two inviting the donor to an upcoming event or providing details about how they can continue receiving communications from your nonprofit.

How to Write a Gift Acknowledgment Letter

1. State the purpose of your letter

Start your gift acknowledgment letter with a confirmation of the donation. This introduces the recipient to the letter by reminding them of their gift. It should only take a sentence or two.

2. Make your letter visually engaging

Before you start crafting the content of your letter, determine how you’ll make it catch the recipient’s attention. After all, your gift acknowledgment letter is only beneficial if the recipient actually reads it!

Here are a few strategies to make your letter visually engaging:

  • Plan engaging formatting
  • Choose legible fonts
  • Use animations or images

To make this process easier, use a digital card creation service like eCardWidget. This solution allows you to customize premade templates or start from scratch with unique cards branded to your nonprofit. Then, you can send the card to donors via email.

Taking the online route for gift acknowledgment letters unlocks numerous opportunities to invigorate your cards with engaging content. You can include everything from fun animations to eye-catching images and reuse the cards in the future as needed.

Create and sell charity eCards with eCardWidget.

3. Personalize your note

Personalizing a gift acknowledgment letter adds a special touch and shows your donors that you genuinely value their ongoing support. Use these best practices to personalize your letter:

  • Use the donor’s name: Address the donor by their name. Avoid generic salutations like “Dear Supporter” and instead use their actual name, such as “Dear [Donor’s Name].” This increases the likelihood of donors reading your letter and shows them that you recognize them for who they are and not just as another revenue source.
  • Reference the donation: In the letter, mention the specific donation amount or type (e.g., monetary donation, in-kind donation). This shows that you’ve taken the time to acknowledge their contribution individually.
  • Express genuine gratitude: Tailor your appreciation message to reflect the impact of the donor’s contribution. Instead of a generic thank-you, express gratitude for the specific ways their support will make a difference.
  • Share a personal story: If you have any personal anecdotes or connections with the donor, mention them in the letter. For example, if the donor has been a long-time supporter or if their donation aligns with a particular interest or passion, acknowledge that connection.
  • Highlight previous support: If the donor has supported your organization in the past, acknowledge their ongoing commitment and express gratitude for their continued support.

By personalizing your gift acknowledgment letters, you can show donors that their support is truly valued and strengthen the bond between them and your organization.

4. Explain the impact of the gift

Personalized outreach that highlights donor impact makes 41% of donors willing to give again. You can demonstrate the donor’s impact by including:

  • A detailed story about the work that was accomplished with the donor’s gift, incorporating quotes from beneficiaries and volunteers.
  • Statistics and data relevant to the project supported by the donation.
  • A summary of larger goals to show how the donation supports your nonprofit’s long-term plans.

Remember to keep the message donor-centric, highlighting the impact their gift will make. The letter should be about what the donor—not your nonprofit—accomplished with their gift.

5. Express heartfelt gratitude

Craft a sincere message by using emotive language to convey your gratitude. Depending on the method you use to send your letter, incorporate additional elements to make it more meaningful. Sending handwritten letters can enhance the personal feel of the message, but digital platforms may allow you to include visuals alongside your message for more vivid appreciation.

6. Invite supporters to stay involved

Your gift acknowledgment letter shouldn’t be the end of your communications with donors. Ensure they stay involved by offering additional engagement opportunities in your letter.

Invite supporters to upcoming events, highlight volunteer opportunities, and direct them to other ways to stay in touch, such as feedback surveys or social media channels. If you send a digital card, you can use links and buttons to make it easy for donors to explore your other communication channels.

Gift Acknowledgment Letter Template

To make sure you include everything that’s needed in your letter, use this template as a starting point:

Dear [Donor’s Name],

Thank you so much for your generous donation of $[amount] on [date]. This letter is to officially acknowledge the receipt of your donation, which we have designated to support our [specific program]. Your support is vital to our efforts and makes a significant impact.

Please keep this letter for your records as it may be used as official documentation for tax purposes. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your donation.

We are deeply grateful for your generosity and commitment to our cause. Your support not only helps us achieve [specific goals], but it also strengthens our community of advocates and changemakers. We would love to see you at [upcoming event] or work with you on our volunteer team. Please visit our website [website URL] or contact us directly for more information on how you can greatly enhance our collective impact.

Thank you once again for your commitment to [cause].


[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Organization’s Name]

Wrapping Up

A gift acknowledgment letter weaves together your nonprofit’s appreciation, engagement, and compliance efforts following a donor’s generosity. It provides an opportunity to deeply connect and foster lasting relationships with your treasured supporters.

If you’re looking for more information on how to inspire donors to give and cultivate meaningful relationships with them, check out the following resources:

Learn how you can engage donors beyond a gift acknowledgment letter by making matching gifts easy.